A Message from Rebeccas Carreras, President, Parents' Association
Parents’ Association Annual Report
School Year 2019-20
“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
~ Fred Rogers
The ’19-’20 school year started as many years before it, with enthusiasm and excitement. We had no idea what was in store for us as we happily reunited with our friends and classmates. Although 2020 continues to beleaguer us with challenges, we were fortunate to live several months into the school year before we felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year was to be one of uncharted territory both for the PA and for Wooster Administration as we embarked together on a newly defined partnership, with the PA surrendering our independent, 501(c)3 status. With high hopes and open minds, we began our journey.
The first event of our school year took place before the school year even began. The Parents’ Association volunteers joined forces with the Wooster faculty to welcome our newest community members at our first New Parent Welcome Reception. As successful an event as we hoped it would be, the new parents were grateful to have an opportunity to meet other members of the Wooster community and share stories at this warmly received cocktail party. The Back to School Picnic was soon to follow where new and returning families convened on the lawn and caught up with each other over tacos. Always on the look out for volunteers, the PA used both of these gatherings as opportunities to drum up community support for the many Committees and Events that we take on each year. Volunteerism is at the heart of all we do, so we were thrilled at the community response with our lists filling with eager participants.
Grandparents & Special Friends Day is always a joyous day on campus, and this year was no different. The smiles on the faces of our special visitors as their students led them around campus are always a heartwarming reminder that the Wooster message doesn’t stop with our students. It is an energy that resonates through the homes in our community and continues to echo through all the hearts they touch.
As the holidays approached, the Wooster PA partnered with the Center for Social Impact on several successful events. The most impactful of these partnerships were the Annual Turkey Drive and the Holiday Bazaar. During the turkey drive, the PA worked with the CSI Prefect and Executive Board to collect turkeys which were then delivered to both The Jericho Partnership as well as the Daily Bread Food Pantry in an effort to help local families in need celebrate the holidays.
The Holiday Bazaar raised more money than ever when the PA enlisted the student members of the Center for Social Impact. Their innovative take on this Wooster tradition led to old Wooster jerseys, sports letters and pins flying off the shelves as students raced to buy a piece of Wooster history. The beneficiary of this event was the Center for Social Impact itself. The Holiday Bazaar proceeds were designated to help fund the multitude of socially impactful projects our Wooster students dream up every year. Another wonderful partnership for effective change in our communities.
As the year progressed, we continued to hold our monthly, on campus, PA meetings offering parents insight into many of Wooster’s academic and extracurricular programs. Our goal in these meetings is to enrich the understanding and connection of our parents to our school and community. Last year we took that goal one step further.
Enter the Strictly Social. Recognizing the need for connection and social interaction (even pre-COVID-19), the Parents’ Association introduced this aptly-named gathering to strengthen the bonds formed in our community. As the name infers, the “Socials” were just that; a ‘Business-Free-Zone” where parents were encouraged to meet and get to know new people over hors D’oevures and cocktails in an elegant, kid-free setting. The feedback from our Strictly Social was unanimous. It was a wildly successful event that our community members truly appreciated. With that, we agreed that these “Socials” should be recurring events and the plan was to hold them 3-4 times per year. We were able to successfully host three strictly socials before the social profile of our world changed.
With the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent quarantine, we were no longer able to host socials or monthly meetings. We hoped that the ’20-’21 school year might be different, but, with our country still in the throes of this virus, we are obviously not able to have these types of gatherings. We do plan on bringing them back as soon as it is advisable and safe to do so.
While we were off to a wonderful start, the ’19-’20 school year held many more surprises than just the unchartered territory and realigned partnership between the Parents’ Association and Wooster School. Our Wooster community, however, remained strong. We stood together and learned how to stay safe and look for the helpers, and turned our attention back to some of the truly important things in life- spending quality time with those you love most of all.
With all we learned last year, we enter the ’20-’21 school year with due caution, but also carrying the knowledge we have gained. We are flexible, strong, supportive, and committed to continuing the goals of the Wooster School Parents’ Association. We are finding new and creative ways to keep our community thriving and connected until we are able to return to all the wonderful activities and events that keep our hearts close to Wooster.
As we forge ahead through the challenges that our world continues to hand us, let us remember how fortunate we are to be in a community of ‘helpers’. On behalf of the Wooster Parents’ Association, I wish everyone health and safety as we continue to persevere through this pandemic.
Parents' Association President
2019-2020 Executive Board:
President: Rebecca Carreras P '24, '29
Vice President: Erin Porter P '22, '25, '29
Secretary: Michelle Briody P '22
Treasurer: Nicole Fortson P '20, '22
Second Vice President - Volunteer Coordinator: Amy DiCarlo '21, Kate Pearce '28